by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jul 22nd 2009 10:04pm
Joe Mullin has been covering the story of how patent attorneys have been jumping into abusing the patent system with a fervor over the past few years -- either getting patents themselves on trivial concepts or buying up patents and aggressively suing over them. The classic case of this involved Scott Harris, who not only got a bunch of patents himself, but those patents were then used in lawsuits against clients of his own law firm, Fish & Richardson. Think about that for a second. Harris lost his job, but it appears that as long as you do the same thing while not still working for F&R, perhaps it's ok. Mullin has the story of a former F&R lawyer, who bought up a bunch of patents and has been suing a ton of big name companies. In some of the cases, he's been using Fish as his lawyers. In others, he's been suing Fish clients (though, not using Fish as his lawyers in those cases). Basically, this all just becomes a huge tax on innovation. A bunch of lawyers get extra wealthy while companies that are actually innovating are forced to fork over millions of dollars to the lawyers who think they're playing a game. I recently had a dinner with a young patent attorney who said the system is sickening from the inside (he's looking to get out of the patent business). You see these top patent lawyers who are making millions by abusing the system, and they absolutely love the fact that they're abusing the system. It makes them rich that they find the whole thing to be a joke. They don't care that it's harming companies and American innovation, just so long as they can buy expensive cars and houses.
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